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First of all, how does an NSA contractor have the ability to wiretap anyone, ANYONE, from an infrastructure level to a legal level? Is the legal part that “terrorism” is important enough to bypass a court? Is the infrastructure part that the data is available on the NSA’s servers somewhere, and this guy who worked at Booz Allen for three months was given clearance for it? How did this happen?
This part isn’t clear for me, though Michael Arrington has some plausible theories.
Still, I and the rest of the world, six days after the first story broke, have little idea whether this AIM, Facebook Messenger, Paltalk conversation you and I are having is directly accessible to the U.S. government, which, at anytime — and whether or not anyone has clearance — can look at it (Hi guys?!). What we do know for a fact though is that the NSA sucks at PowerPoint.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden says you can wiretap Obama if need be, but the NSA has done a poor job of expressing that impact through its PRISM PowerPoint presentation. Exactly how much access the government has to company data is completely belied by its shitty graphic design skills.
“The top banner with the logos, it’s horrible, you cannot avoid it,” French PowerPoint designer Emiland De Cubber, who turned the government’s laughable deck into something more design-friendly (above), tells me. “You cannot say it’s bad — for someone who is not a designer to not know design at all. But you can say you didn’t think very much about what you wanted to say. It’s sad. Because people did not think about those slides.”
And their eventual audience of, I dunno, 2 billion or so people.
De Cubber is, yes, a PowerPoint slide designer who believes the U.S. government could have conveyed its message more effectively through visual design: “Half of the people don’t care about design, but the other half do care about it. It’s like a PowerPoint cliché, and not as threatening as it actually is.”
And his opinion on the guy who leaked the terrible slides in the first place? “He’s in a good place to be TIME Man Of The Year.”
Stop spying on us, American government.